Ponderings of our Spiritual Life Director 6-3-20

I am struggling to find the right words today. I want to find the words to comfort you because things are a bit unsettling right now, and I care about your well-being. But to be honest, I mostly want to find the words to challenge you. Our 1st UU Principle requires me to do so. The reason our world is in such unrest is because too many of us white folx have been so comfortable with the ways things were- too comfortable to pay attention to the voices of the marginalized, the poor, and the oppressed. Too comfortable complying (whether you realized it or not) with a system that mandates inequalities in order for those in power to remain in power, because it’s hard work to disrupt a system, turn it on it’s head, and make drastic changes, especially when that means giving up our own power. It’s much easier to just participate in band-aid solutions and go about living our comfortable lives, feeling good about helping out without having to sacrifice too much. Sure, I’d like to find the words to comfort you, to let you know that it’s going to be ok because we have each other. Certainly, we do have a strong community in which we can find love, comfort, strength, and solace. We should be so grateful for that. But things in this country are changing. They have to. And I don’t know what that will look like exactly, but I do know that in order for real change to take place for every human that lives in this country, it’s going to require sacrificing the “normal” life that we take comfort in. And believe me when I say, I have to come to terms with what that might look like for myself, too. Because I just don’t know. But I’m looking for some answers.

So, perhaps the words I’m looking for are “open yourselves up to real change”. Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be willing to listen to those you know nothing about (and don’t ever assume– if you are white and cis-gendered– that you know what it’s like for a person of color, or anyone who is marginalized, to live in this country). Understand that our differences are our strength and we should not be using them against one another. Be willing to give of yourself and your resources. Read the anti-racist books I ask you to read- over and over again. Watch the anti-racist videos I ask you to watch- over and over again. And ask yourself, “what action do I need to take to change my thoughts and my behavior so I can make the changes that lead to justice and liberation for all? What are the black and brown people in these books and videos asking us to do?”

Here’s a concrete example of something that is being asked of us: don’t call the police. Think about and research (yes, please, do your own research) what this means, what this requires of you, how you can participate in building a new system of justice. How does this affect lives? How can restorative justice vs. policing help to humanize all individuals?

We have a lot of work to do. I have faith that we can do this better together. We are strong, loving, compassionate community- here to support each other and those that need it most. We can move forward into a better world for all!